tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC October 11, 2012 2:00am-3:00am EDT
romney's flipped again. let's play "hardball." good evening i'm chris matthews in new york. we have a failure to communicate, that's what the chain gang said in "cool hand luke" when somebody broke the rules. when is mitt romney going to tell us what he really thinks, really beliefs, thinks voters have a right to know about what he does if he gets into the white house? will he let people languish in the emergency room, all 40
million of the uninsured, which is his official position, or is he going to do something nice for those people? will he push the right wing agenda on abortion rights, dumping planned parenthood funding, picking right wing judges for the supreme court or do what he said yesterday, nothing, nothing at all. have you nothing to fear. nothing at all, he said. i don't think romney wants anybody to know what his plans are. he wants to keep the middle calmly believing he doesn't intend to do any of that mean stuff he promises to do when he sits down with the right wing folks on whom he said is hard. joining me is michele richards now volunteering for the obama campaign, and david jones from mother corn author of "47% ". >> the latest gallup tracking poll shows obama leading romney 50/45, but among likely voters they're tied 48%. net two-point game for obama
since yesterday. if romney and republicans are in charge here's a few things for men and women to be aware of. number one, expect a war on planned parenthood, romney in an interview with a local missouri reporter back in march. >> my test is simple. is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from china to pay for it? on that basis you get rid of obama care. that's the first one. there are others, planned parenthood, we'll get rid of that. >> okay. there he is, romney chose a vp, by the way, paul ryan, who co-sponsored a, quote, personhood bill. with congressman todd akin aboard. that personhood bill basically guarantees if not the criminalization of abortion, something close to it. the republican platform is out of date.
it calls for a human life amendment to the constitution to, quote, make clear the 14th amendment's protections apply to unborn children. unborn children at the age of a couple seconds have the right to property. romney has a right to support a supreme court justice, here's what he wants. >> hope to appoint justices to the supreme court that will follow the law and the constitution and it would be my preference that they reverse roe v. wade, therefore they return to the people and their elected representatives the decisions with regards to this important issue. >> cecile richards, as an expert and advocate, what do we make of this complete divide between what romney is saying these days about health care, about preexisting conditions, about abortion rights, something you care very much about, and what he's been saying for months, if not years? >> i think what we're -- i think what we're seeing, chris -- sorry, i lost the audio. i think what we're seeing is mitt romney, one, will say anything to get elected. he's been trying to muddy the waters on women's issues. it's clear and you made it
clear, he has pledged to appoint judges to the supreme court that would overturn roe versus wade. this is has been a constitutional protection for nearly 40 years for women. get rid of planned parenthood, so the 3 million women that rely on us, and get rid of obama care, which has several protections in it for women, including women being able to get preventive care, like birth control and cancer screenings covered by insurance companies. i think he's taken positions that are so extreme that when women find them out, they won't vote for them. >> in covering his keister these last couple of weeks, here is he in an interview with the editorial board of "the des moines register" and asked about his plans regarding abortion rights. here's his latest cover story. lease listen. >> do you intend to pursue any legislation specifically regarding abortion? >> i don't -- there's no legislation with regards to abortion that i'm familiar with that -- that would become part of my agenda.
>> there's no legislation with regard to abortion that would become part of my agenda. that's a hell of a statement for someone who supports human life amendment to the constitution. it's a familiar pattern. romney spokesperson had to clean up his remarks again yesterday. in this case for the right-leaning national review, who told the national review online, governor romney would support legislation protecting rights for life. david corn, i have no idea, no idea whatever what this means. he says one thing, his flack comes out -- dutifully comes out and denies 100% within an hour or two. this has become treat the media watching with a story that sells to the middle. cecile, this is for you, this is part of his campaign, and the minute it's over, have someone clean up the mess after the elephant for those few people focusing on the details. >> this is reminding me of a monty python routine. do you support abortion restrictions? no, i don't.
do you support education cuts? no, i don't. and then people come out and say, well, actually he does. he just keeps contradicting himself over and over again on these very basic, basic fundamental positions. you know, the right wing should be up in arms. and then andrea and others creeping out and saying, what he meant to say. he's going with a top line campaign strategy. he gets out on foreign policy and says, i'm strong, obama is weak. he says i won't cut taxes for the rich but everything up until then he will. i'll just create a better economy by snapping my fingers now. don't know how long he can get away with this, maybe until election day, but he's taking this position that it almost doesn't matter what he says as long as it sounds good at the time. >> cecile, let me ask you about,
when you get up in the morning and worry about the possibility of this election going the wrong way from your perspective of a volunteer for obama, when you really think, and you have to talk to your best friends whom we care most about, when you tell pro choice women what they should fear from the next administration, should it be a romney administration, what is your concerns? what are the list of concerns you have? >> first of all, the thought that my daughters would have fewer rights than i do, or my granddaughters or other folks' children, women would literally lose the right to make their own personal decisions about health care, about having children is absolutely incredible. that is frightening. the other thing that's an immediate concern is planned parenthood. we see 3 million patients every year. many of these women, we're their only doctor. this is the one medical visit to get their breast exam, pap smear, family planning services and mitt romney says he's going to get rid of all that and doesn't even seem to care. there are millions of women in this country who are concerned.
and access to health care, it's a basic economic issue. >> let me get back to the larger question of health care because we're on this topic, david. you know, i can't -- i think romney's got some pretty good political instincts out there, some chops i didn't know about. he seems to know when you're in a debate with 70 million people watching you can't get away with it. i can't imagine, my idea of health care is we won't let you die in your apartment. we'll dump you in the emergency room. that's his plan. he said it a couple days ago. he wouldn't say that -- he know there's an on or off button with this guy. don't tell the truth when the big audience is watching. when you get together with a few right wingers in boca raton, tell them what you really think. that's the way he operates. >> of course on the pre-existing condition thing he makes it sound like he supports obama care, when he doesn't. another matter, he said, i support getting rid of pre-existing conditions, too, and one of his aides had to come out afterwards and explain to the media, to a much smaller
audience than those watching at home, that's not really his position. he'll only extend that coverage if you have it pre-existingly. again and again he's talking this top-line talk, i call it, that sounds good, that is not tethered to anything he said during the primaries, you know, mass self-deportations or anything connected to what's on his own website. and he's hoping that people aren't going to make the connection. and i think that kind of bedevilled obama. there are a lot of reasons for his poor performance but that made it hard for him. every time he said something about a romney position, romney said this parrot isn't dead. obama didn't know didn't know how to respond to that. better comebacks -- >> i'll give him some slack on that. cecile, the people who are pro life, so-called, always make a point of pulling back from saying they're criminalizing a woman's decision, she talks to a doctor, a clergyman but she makes that determination to have an abortion. they never say put that woman in jail. it's put that doctor in jail.
it's always the other thing. but my feeling is, when you get to this personhood bill, which says a federalized egg a couple seconds after sexual activity, whatever, is a person with the rights of 14th amendment, life, liberty and property. it seems you're getting darn close to criminalizing. if you say that's a person, then having an abortion is a murder. therefore, it seems to me, unless you change common law out there, i'm not a lawyer, but unless you start changing all the laws, have you to be darn careful about what's that considered under the law at that point. that seems like you're on the verge of criminalizing abortion rights right there. >> look, i mean, the personhood movement is so extreme. romney he supports. it's so extreme, not only would it overturn roe, women couldn't make their own decisions about
their pregnancies but potentially criminalize in vitro fertilization. mr. romney has supported so extreme that mississippi voters rejected personhood when it was put on the ballot in february. he has one position when he's talking to the broader public but what he believes are these positions he's taken. the thing of concern is that this congress has passed some of the most extreme legislation against women, against women's health, and mitt romney would be a rubber stamp for the tea party congress. and i think all of these issues that we're talking about are absolutely on the table. >> i don't think he's too big on lilly ledbetter either. >> mitt romney started telling us about meeting the former navy s.e.a.l. killed in benghazi. today romney mentioned him by name. let's listen. >> i met some wonderful people. one was a former navy s.e.a.l., and glenn dougherty. we chatted for a while. he came from massachusetts.
where i had been governor. you can imagine how shocked i was to learn that he was one of the two navy -- former navy s.e.a.l.s killed in benghazi. when the report came our consulate had been attacked, that he and the other s.e.a.l. that was killed with him, that they were in a different place, they were about a mile away in an annex in the city, when they heard the consulate was under attack. they went to the attack. they didn't hunker down and hide themselves. no they went there. that's what americans do. when there's a challenge, when there's a threat, we go there. >> i don't know. that strikes me as boosterism, the most crassist kind. he's talking like a used car salesman there about a person's death. what do you make of that? >> he's trying to exploit this person without the person being able to say anything about it. you know, he's not -- he can't talk about personal examples such as when he was a missionary for the mormon church during vietnam, even though he supported the war, he ran away in the opposite direction.
i think it's cheap politics and theatrics to make your point on the basis of someone else when you don't have anything to point in your own life, hard decisions -- even hard decisions he's made in which he can say this is where i, myself, showed some spine and courage and took on a challenge. >> no examples of that. one person that agrees with you is glenn dougherty's mother. she made a statement, she did not approve of this use of her son's legacy. the statement reads in part, i don't trust romney. he shouldn't make my son's death part of his political agenda. i feel when he brings up my son's death he's politicizing it. it's wrong to use these brave young men who wanted freedom for all to degrade obama. romney will stop using glenn dougherty's story. the polls have moved mitt
romney a bit away from the democrats and democrats are jumpy right now. should they be? one democrat said that's my party, irrational, overconfident, sometimes near irrational despair. but i say take -- well, buckle your seat belts and start driving this campaign and stop worrying so much. here's one mini thought, less big bird and more big dog. >> so at the debate they got together and said, hey, man, this ship is sinking faster than the titanic. but people are still frustrated about the economy. they want it fixed yesterday. so just show up with a sunny face and say, i didn't say all that stuff i said the last two years. >> that's bill clinton showing the democrats how to take on romney/ryan. let's hope they get the message starting now. also, what really happened in that fatal attack in benghazi? republicans are charged with the
state department with lack security. republicans say democrats are trying to score points off a tragedy. a ceo says if a certain candidate wins presidency, he may have to fire people. see if you can guess which billionaire this candidate opposes? this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ thunder crashes ] [ female announcer ] some people like to pretend a flood could never happen to them. and that their homeowners insurance protects them. [ thunder crashes ]
it doesn't. stop pretending. only flood insurance covers floods. ♪ visit floodsmart.gov/pretend to learn your risk. now you see it and now you don't. late today president obama weighed in. on an interview on abc, romney's latest position on abortion is an attempt to mask the position he's been running on. let's listen. >> other example of governor romney hiding positions he's been campaigning on for a year and a half. governor romney has made it very clear that if a bill comes to his desk, that overturns roe versus wade, he will appoint justices that overturn roe versus wade. >> we'll be right back. you can actually start to
feel the nervousness. is there something really wrong with this campaign? deedee meyers, old friend, you've been through some tough ones and bumps in the road and you've gotten through them with their boss, president clinton. you've been through local politics in san francisco. where are we now, a bump in the road or a real ditch the campaign's in looking at these numbers? >> it's a bump in the road. the fundamentals of this race haven't changed. the electoral college map, it's a fact it's a harder road for mitt romney than barack obama. as long as obama is still
leading like ohio, as he is, the road gets narrow for romney. the president had a bad night last week. we democrats made it worse by everyone running around with their hair or fire for a week saying how horrible it was. in the aftermath, the republicans knew they had a good night but they weren't as confident in victory after they looked at us for a while. we need to settle back, get back to blocking and tackling. president needs to have a better performance in the next two debates than the first one. this race is still fundamentally the president's to lose. >> and the people have different jobs. if i see biden blow it tomorrow, i'm going to say so. maybe someone like -- >> you made your position clear in the first debate. >> thanks for rubbing it in. the fact is i have a different job than you do. steve mcmahon, fixing this, getting it going again. my idea is buckle your seat belts and turn on the gas, go do your thing. can biden do his thing?
can president obama do his thing? go for what you're good at. >> joe biden is probably the most experienced and seasoned debate are in the democratic party right now and he's very, very good on his feet. people don't remember this, but after george bush had a bad debate after john kerry, dick cheney came in and changed the trajectory of the race again. >> he dismembered john edwards. he killed him. >> he did. i think that joe biden can get the joe mentum, if you will, for the obama campaign by going in there and reminding people what mitt romney and paul ryan would do if mitt romney is elected president. mitt romney has placed his arms around it and embraced the paul ryan budget plan and there are a lot of things the president didn't mention joe biden will focus on, starting with medicare. and then the 47% remark. i think you'll hear more about that tomorrow night and in the next debate. the president showed up last
week for a news conference asking the questions but he was being presidential and didn't engaged his opponent. mitt romney showed up for a debate. i think the next time you see president obama, he'll come ready for a debate. >> here is he on the tom joyner radio show. he said he was too polite in last week's debate. let's listen to the president. >> i mean, you know, the debate, i think it's fair to say, i was just too polite. because, you know, it's hard to keep on saying what you're saying isn't true. it gets repetitive. the good news is, that's just the first one. >> is that the number one job of the president, to be the fact-checker, or is what you've done the last four years? positive or negative, which way should you go to win the next debate when he gets in there? >> well, you can be positive while being negative, which -- or be negative while being positive. the president's problem wasn't that he was too polite. the president's problem was he didn't come with a strong narrative frame, both for
defending his own accomplishments and own record, give us an idea of where we're going in the next term and holding mitt romney accountable for having 87 positions on every issue. yes, it gets repetitive but if you continue to frame the issue, you know, in a more elegant way, which we know the president's capable of, you can remind the audience over and over because mitt romney has flip-flopped over and over. so, i hope we see not only -- and the president can remain polite. i just hope we see a more aggressive defense and a better frame, a better narrative about who he is, what he's done and where we're going as a country. >> let's start with the negative. let's play defense here. what about going after this 47%, when romney was being taped, not on national television, but when he thought he wasn't on national television, when he basically dismissed half the country for being slackers, moochers, whatever, loafers. when he did that, that wasn't something he was saying by accident. that is something, serious, he can still go after that once romney's taken it back? >> yes, absolutely. and he needs to go after it. one of the things he need to do,
dee dee points out, there are three chapters. look what i inherited and look at the situation that confronted me the moment i walked in the office. the second chapter is, look what we did. every single thing we did, maybe it didn't work as fast or as well as we would have liked but it's working now. every single thing we did, the republicans and mitt romney tried to keep us from doing. and going forward, the question is, what kind of an economy are we going to have. are we going to have one that grows from the middle out or that depends upon the top-down, trickle-down economics that the republicans and mitt romney favor? you heard his attitude about the 47%, about the people who go to work every single day. that's the -- that's the way mitt romney thinks about america. and it's not the kind of america i believe in or our party believes in and it's not the kind of america we'll have if barack obama is re-elected. he needs to do all three chapters. part of it's negative or comparative, the way we like to think of, it but part of it's real, what he inherited. part of it -- part is also perspective and future oriented because there's a choice about what kind of an economy we'll have when we come out of this recession.
>> you know, let me ask you about that, because it seems to me -- they've been talking about big bird. should they drop that idea? >> yes, they should have dropped that. you know, it's funny cocktail party chatter but it isn't -- the election is too important. one thing the president needs to do is use mitt romney's flip-flopping around as part of the narrative, right? i mean, you can't lead if you don't know where you're going, right? if romney isn't going to lead, we know who will lead, the radical, right wing, tea party congress. he'll be yoked to them and that's not the country we want to have. that's the kind of economy that won't be good for the middle class. it will be 47% against everybody else. the president needs to make that argument. it plays into what romney is saying and vulnerable on. not just in the last debate but only his entire career, going back to his first run for public office against ted kennedy who said his position on abortion
was multiple choice because he couldn't decide where he stood on an issue pretty important to most voters. >> if i can make one statement in defense of the obama campaign. if you think what they were walking into, the obama campaign had had a series of bad months. not just weeks or days, bad months. a lot of republicans were talking about whether romney would go over the cliff and take the whole party with him. even his own party mates were wondering if he could be an effective candidate. a different guy showed up for that debate, governor of mitt romney. appears moderate, but who sounded really good and convincing. the president chose not to engage him because i think he felt like the mitt romney he had been seeing all those weeks wasn't the romney-m that was going to turn the campaign around. unfortunately, that's not what they saw. it was a miscalculation. they won't make that back to "hardball." jimmy fallon takes on mitt romney's plan to cut pbs with a visit to mr. romney's neighborhood. you must know where this is headed.
we saw that last tide commercial with the parents and the cute little baby triplets... well wait until your triplets move back home after college. we were enjoying our empty nest. and now it's just a nest full of laundry. lucky underwear. we were going through so much of that bargain detergent... and the clothes didn't look as good. but since we switched to tide, we use much less. their clothes are looking much more...uh... what's the word? clean? employable.
>> it's fun to use your imagination. you know, i love to have fun and laugh. ha, ha, ha. with an imagination, why, this simple piece of string here could be any number of things. it could be -- no, can't be that. could be anything. it could be -- that doesn't make any sense. could be a -- it could be a
piece of twine. you know what, this is stupid, so who are we even -- oh, hey, look, it's the trolley. it's on the way to the neighborhood of make-believe. that's where me and paul ryan get most of our facts from. >> so, where was mr. feely, you know, the neighborhood speedy delivery man? voters want to know. we flubbed a phone number or two, right? that simple mistake turned out to be a whopper for florida governor rick scott. during a meeting yesterday on a meningitis outbreak on the state, scott directed anyone with concerns to a toll-free hot line. the problem? here's what callers heard when they dialed the number scott had given. >> hello, boys. thank you for calling me on my anniversary. existing callers, press one. new callers, press two. >> wow, doesn't that sound -- doesn't sound much like the
department of health. callers concerned about meningitis were directed in this case to call an adult phone line. the governor later notified of the mistake and it was quickly rectified but not before a few people fell victim, or whatever. illinois congressman joe walsh unveils a gotcha photograph. here's walsh at a debate with duckworth last night. we don't get a great look at his snapshot but leave it to walsh to explain. >> last point. i was marching in a parade in stromberg, sunday, two days before the democratic convention when tammy duckworth was on a stage down in charlotte f can you look at the picture, picking out a dress for her speech tuesday night. >> what's that supposed to mean? duckworth shouldn't have picked something to wear for the democratic convention while her opponent was so nobly marching in a local parade? anyway, duckworth acknowledged the bizarre attack in the debate later on.
>> yes, i do sometimes look at the clothes i wear. but for most of my adult life, i've worn one color, it's called camouflage. >> she wore camouflage fighting for the country. duckworth is an iraq war veteran. finally, a billionaire ceo tells his employees that come election day if president obama wins, you just might lose your job. part of a memo sent around by ceo david siegel, if any new taxes are levied on me or my company as our current president plans, i will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company. this means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone. so, when you make your decision to vote, ask yourself, which candidate understands the economics of business ownership and who doesn't? whose policies will endanger your job? his fear tactic isn't entirely new. this is similar to a form letter some other ceos sent around on
welcome back to "hardball." well, there was some politically charged moments today on capitol hill as darrell issa looked into the attack in benghazi that killed christopher stevens and three other americans. they have accused the administration of giving false information in the aftermath of the attack. they characterized it as a spontaneous protest that arose over an anti-muslim film in the usa today. here is issa today. >> today the state department became the process of becoming clean about what occurred in benghazi. contrary to early assertions by the administration, let's understand, there was no protest and cameras reveal that and the state department, the fbi and
others have that video. >> democrats charged the hearing itself was politically motivated and that republicans have left them out of the investigation. here was ranking member elijiah couple krchl ummings. >> we need to carefully investigate allegations that have been made over the past week and we need to run them to the ground before we jump to conclusions. we should not be about the business of drawing concludes and then looking for the facts. >> for more on today's hearing and the politics behind it we're joined by capitol hill correspondent kelly o'donnell. i guess the fundamental question is, not just the motive, people are partisan by nature in politics, but the idea of something really being covered up here. how did they proceed there today and get anywhere with that? >> the republicans who are
running this committee really wanted to get at why was the government giving out information they now acknowledge was incorrect? the video you talked about was somehow the spark that set this off. there was a lot of friction about that during the committee hearing. and as you heard chairman issa say, there is apparently videotape the government has that shows that it was very calm there about an hour before the -- sort of the melee began. a lot of frustration about that. still a sense they're not getting all the answers they want. some of that is because there's an ongoing investigation, in fact, three of them. the people from the state department who were there to give testimony had some concern about stepping on the investigation. so, that's part of it. the other part is a real inquiry about what should the level of security be because two of the men who were at the witness table had been a part of security in libya, claimed they had made requests for additional support on the ground, based on things they were seeing there and that that had been denied. now it's a question of, were the right decisions made about the level of security needed? of course, after something this deadly, that makes the decisions made earlier look like there were problems.
and the state department official who made the decision still believes they had the right number of personnel on the ground the day this happened, but that this was not something that could have been prevented because of the -- what they called unprecedented level of attack. >> thank you, kelly o'donnell for the facts. one of the witnesses today, u.s. regional security offer eric nordstrom testified extra security wouldn't have prevented the tragic deaths in benghazi. let's listen to him. >> let me say a word about the evening of september 11th. i had not seen an attack of such veracity and intensity previously in libya, nor in my time with the security service. >> you said, quote, having an extra foot -- extra foot of wall or extra half dozen guards or agents would not have enabled to respond to that kind of assault. did you write that? >> i do and still believe that. >> congressman elijah cummings, did you hear evidence that the people at the embassy in tripoli
and the consulate in benghazi had asked for more security help and that had been rejected, is that a fact, do we know? >> we heard some testimony today to that effect, but on the other hand one of those witnesses, eric nordstrom, made it clear that he had had good cooperation. as a matter of fact, he complicated the effort of the state department. so, we had -- this was a hearing, chris, that was a bit premature. that's one of the things i've said over and over again. we have -- with regard to this kind of manner, it needs to be bipartisan and it needs to be a thorough hearing. and i think basically what the republicans did here, and it pains me to say it, but they rushed to have a hearing. basically, i think, to give governor romney some ammunition against the president. that's how i see it. >> what about this fact that apparently the republicans in the house were the ones who wanted -- who cut, effectively, half a billion in security costs. >> that's exactly right.
over the past two budget cycles, chris, they've -- each -- i mean, total it's been about half of a billion dollars they've taken away from -- under from the -- they've taken from the president's request some half a billion dollars for security at these embassies. on the other hand, then they come in and they say, oh, we should have more security. and they're all upset. but the fact is, that this cut, cut, cuts. we're beginning to see, chris, how those cuts do affect people and affect lives, sadly. >> let's talk about the fact. it seems an embassy can withstand or should be able to withstand a crowd, a bunch of civilians raising hell, raising flags and that requires the use of tear gas, smoke bombs, whatever, maybe rubber bullets to keep them at bay and protect the lives of those inside. what kind of a force would you need to protect heavily armed, well-armed terrorists? it would seem that would be an
incredibly fortified situation to fight off terrorists. does anyone think we should have that kind of armaments available to diplomats? >> even mr. issa's witnesses said that there was no way that we could have fought off this the way we deal with our embassies. unless you were trying to fortify them like we do in iraq. and their budget is about -- probably 30 times what we would have in libya. it would take just a tremendous force. basically, keep in mind, chris, we have agreements whereby the local folk are basically responsible for helping us to defend our embassies. so, it's a very difficult situation. but again, i think we've got to go forward in a bipartisan way. >> it's hard to put your lives in the hands of militiamen. bill clinton to the rescue, the big dog as he's called, bubba, elvis, whatever you want to call him, is back on the trail helping the president get
i had a different reaction to that first debate than a lot of people did. i mean, i thought -- i thought, wow, here's old moderate mitt. where you been, boy? i missed you all these last two years. >> we're back. and that was, of course, bill clinton last night in las vegas, giving president obama a helping
hand. ever since the democratic convention last month, the former president has shown while politicians of all stripes consider him the best president obama -- the best president obama out there. obama doesn't have a better ally out there working the trail for him. in fact, let's listen to more of what the big dog, as we have to say, had to say about romney's debate performance. take a look. >> it was like one of these bain capital deals where he's the closer. so he shows up, tell me what i'm supposed to say the close. now, the problem with this deal is, the deal was made by severe conservative mitt. that was how he described himself, for two whole years. until three or four days before the debate, they all got together and say, hey, man, this ship is sinking faster than the "titanic." but people are still frustrated about the economy. they want it fixed yesterday. so just show up with a sunny face and say, i didn't say all that stuff i said the last two years.
i don't have that tax plan i had for the last two years. you going to believe me or your lying eyes here? come on. >> in the final weeks of the campaign, the obama campaign may want to use a little more of the big dog and a little less of big bird, you might say. anyway, msnbc political panelist eugene robinson is with "the washington post" and cynthia turk is visiting. cynthia, it always brings our spirits up seeing bill in action. he finds the joy in it. in that this guy is a bit of a con artist and he's reinvented the whole massachusetts governor for the purpose of 90 minutes. and whenever's anyone's really listening in the big crowd, he reverts to the old bad stuff the minute nobody's looking. >> and chris, he explains all that in terms that people understood. he does it with a smile on his face. he doesn't seem in any way mean or harsh or vindictive. he seems funny, which he is. it's also clear that bill clinton is having a really good time. he enjoys being on the campaign trail. he enjoys politics in a way that i don't think that president
obama does. and that gives him a great excuse for the first time in four years, to be out with political crowds, which he loves. and he's having a great time doing it. >> i think the president doesn't know that there's music in politics, as well as lyrics, and that bill clinton fully, gene, fully appreciates the musical factor. listen to that voice. he even lets his voice run out of range so he can make a point more hilariously, you know? anyway, at the rally in las vegas last night, bill clinton took on the crazy conspiracy theories that have arisen over friday's job numbers. the unemployment rate dropped to 7.8. some republicans said the administration cooked the books or they tried to. they didn't quite say it, they just did it and then they pulled back. but here was clinton, taking them on. >> did you ever see the like of squalling that the republicans
did after last month's unemployment rate came out at 7.8%? i was kind of embarrassed for them, weren't you? oh, they were whining and moaning, it's a grand conspiracy. now, keep in mind that you heard them at their convention. they must have talked about the unemployment rate 65 or 70 times at their convention. as long as the numbers were above 8%, those numbers were just like the ten commandments moses brought down from sinai. once they drop below 8%, there was some sick conspiracy to invade the government. >> gene, i just love the way he wiggles his fingers like an old preacher. like, we've got trouble in river city, he does that thing. >> he's better at that now than he used to be, because he's free. he's not president anymore, he can go on these flights of rhetoric. you know, it's interesting what you said about the music of
politics. president obama understands music, but it's a different kind of music. his is more like classical music. and bill clinton is more like jazz, to me. >> it's honky tonk. >> more spontaneous, improvsational. you know, obama, you've got beethoven, right? it's sort of profound and soaring in terms of the rhetoric, but it's not improvsational, it's is not quick the way clinton is. >> it's also, i think, the use of wit and sarcasm, delivered with a smile. churchill said, i like a man who grins when he fights. bill clinton grins when he fights. >> yes, he does. and he's obviously really enjoying himself. >> i know, it's great. it's great fun. >> but he's also being tactically really smart. because he can go there in a way, you know, with all that motion and all those gestures in a way that is difficult for president obama to do, either because he's president or because that's not his kind of music. so bill clinton knows exactly what he's doing and he is, i
think, being very effective. >> last thought, ten seconds, cynthia. will joe biden have some music as well as lyrics tomorrow night? >> i think he will. i mean, i think, let's hope he doesn't get two improvsational, but i think joe biden likes politics too and enjoys the music and enjoys a good political brawl. >> okay. let joe be joe, i say. bring it on. talk about grandpa finnegan, the works. talk about scranton 30 times, it doesn't bother me. anyway, thank you, cynthia turk and eugene robinson. when we return, let me finish whether president obama is better with a good debate performance or a good unemployment number, which he actually got. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. ♪ i'd like to thank eating right, whole grain, multigrain cheerios! mom, are those my jeans? [ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't. multigrain cheerios
let me finish tonight with this. it's what you do with what you've got. question, would president obama be better off if he'd had won last week's debate, but then had a jobless rate spike up to 8.5%? or is he better off for having lost last week's first debate, and having seen the unemployment rate drop down to 7.8%? a political pro will say, go with what you've got. you got a bad break on the debate, but a great break on the jobless rate. sell it! let the other side talk up wednesday night. reagan got elected with a 7.2% number. you ought to be able to get re-elected soundly with a 7.8%. all you need is 270, about half of what reagan got elected with. so it may not be time for a get it made, got it made attitude like we had before the first